Imagine if not for our brave ancestors, risking their lives to discover the undiscovered, crossing uncharted territories, voyaging through seemingly endless bodies of water with no man or land in sight for days and months. Then our existences will be left unknown to others, leaving ourselves to our own ignorant existence. It’s through each new discoveries in new technologies that the logistics industry had flourished through each technological advances from land, water to air such as the invention of locomotive, steam ship or airplane, connecting consumers and suppliers through all means of transportation.
We had advanced through many technological means of transport. Now we are at a cross road to the next big thing in our industry, no it is not better efficient burning fuels vessel nor it is faster vessel, it is space commerce. Embrace yourselves for a new world, a world with endless space of opportunities, a new market place in outer space. You may be wondering what does outer space has to do with shipping or supply chain blog? Why NASA has anything to do with this industry?
Through each advance in technologies, shipping and supply chain had benefited from in every mode of transportation, cargo carried on horse carriages on wheels, on water via boat and steamship, via air, now it is time for space, point of discharge, the Moon, Mars, Venus, etc. We had start trade from village to village, town to town, city to city, state to state, countries to countries, now it is time for another planet to another planet.
What’s happening in this field?
NASA had partnered with private firms such as Spacex and Orbital Science to privately transport space cargo, astronaut, or satellites. Co-founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, you may have heard of him, one of the co-founder of Paypal. Also, another company such Virgin Galactic, had launched flight and taking booking from interested patrons at $250,000 per ticket to go to space.
Under president Obama’s National Space Transportation Policy: A Bold Vision of space, its has strong emphasis to support and develop this field in order for U.S. to continuously lead the world. NASA had already subsidized shuttle flight to space with private firms so that we one day going to space is like take a flight from Turkey to the U.S. or even less time, flights to asteroid in the next decade, traveling to Mars 2030’s.
What does this mean for the logistic industry or supply chain?
When us humans first step onto the moon, we knew there was nothing that we couldn’t do, only if we have not yet imagined it. Even though there is still no space hotel, no colonization on the moon, or cheap flight ticket or smooth ride to the moon yet, we are getting there slowly. Even though this is still science fiction, you can not say it is impossible! once we colonized human in outer space, it will open a new market for supply chain, from necessity such as food to building materials. What it’s needed or wanted on earth, will be wanted and needed in outer space. Even before we have out hotels or cheap flight, outer space is high natural resource of precious metals, for example, meteorites that had been found in earth has traces of precious metal such as platinum, rhodium, iridium, rhenium, osmium, ruthenium, palladium, germanium and gold.
Some part may sound science fiction, but don’t sell this short. Space Commerce will be the future, one day you will be asking for freight quote from Port of loading: Houston, Earth to Port of discharge: Moon. Who knows maybe the moon will just become like a transshipment hub stop to Mars or other distant planets. If you undermine this, you are only undermining your own future, your future generation’s future.